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Godfried Schalcken (Made 1643-The Hague 1706)

The Game of 'Lady, come into the Garden' late 1660s

Oil on panel | 63.5 x 49.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405343

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We don’t know the rules of this game, apparently played by the fashionable youth of seventeenth-century Dordrecht. Presumably the players shed a garment every time they fail in some humorous task. The defrocked victim is a self-portrait; the figure behind him is a portrait of his sister, summoning her next target. Parlour games in art are usually metaphors for love – in this case conveying the idea that, in love, men should learn to lose gracefully.